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Europe/Other : Homemade Stamp?

 

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BigDaddyDave

07 May 2016
03:07:52pm
One of my neighbors who started collecting stamps earlier this year stopped by to peruse and buy a few of my extras. He also asked me to identify a few stamps which I did. However, he also asked me about a stamp that looked like it was from Estonia...except that it appears to be a 'homemade' or 'artist creation'. Has anyone seen anything like this? Comments are appreciated. Thanks, Big Daddy DaveImage Not Found

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khj
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07 May 2016
03:57:16pm
re: Homemade Stamp?

Estonia anti-communism cinderella. Similar designs were issued for the other Baltic States. Probably about a dozen different basic designs. Clearly targeted at Russia.

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Guthrum
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07 May 2016
07:01:30pm
re: Homemade Stamp?

It's a pretty hamfisted effort, even by cinderella standards (some would say especially by cinderella standards). See how poorly the country shades match the borders, the laboured script and the 'octopus' lacking the correct number of legs.

The crudely-drawn hammer and sickle does indeed suggest anti-communist, and the currency was effective from 1928 to 1940 (and again after 1992). But the whole thing looks like the work of a not especially-talented child, rather than a piece of purposeful propaganda.

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ikeyPikey
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08 May 2016
08:22:09am
re: Homemade Stamp?

"... hamfisted ... crudely-drawn ... a not especially-talented child ..."



Rampage much?

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"I collect stamps today precisely the way I collected stamps when I was ten years old."
lemaven
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08 May 2016
09:01:47am
re: Homemade Stamp?

"It's a pretty hamfisted effort ... see how poorly the country shades match the borders, the laboured script and the 'octopus' lacking the correct number of legs."



Guthrum: It's not my intention to criticize, but I think you have this exactly wrong. But art may be the ultimate case of subjective opinion, and a worse conversation topic than even politics or sex, so nothing personal...

The analysis reminds me of my daughter's Grade 2 teacher who gave her a "C" on a colouring project, explaining that it was inconsistent because all the lines didn't go in the same direction "like the other kids". She tearfully said to my wife and I "and she wouldn't even listen when I tried to tell her I used cross-hatching".

And again in Grade 9 when her art teacher gave her poster a 75% with the comment "while your graphic showed generally good use of technique, the face was somewhat asymmetrical and poorly centred on the page". This time she swore rather than cried, at the fact that these were techniques used specifically to disturb the viewer into having a closer look at the intricacies within the graphic rather than just having the usual banal unsophisticated "symmetrical...check - centred...check - disengage...check".

And don't even get me started on Canada's brilliant, beautiful and moving (and I'm an atheist!!!) sculpture "Homeless Jesus" that has been criticized and dismissed by some churches and so-called Christians who clearly understand the message of Jesus even less than their understanding of art.

And also, don't make me point out one of the most brilliant and beloved American characters who spawned an unparalleled entertainment empire: "Mickey Mouse" and his (in this case truly) ham-fisted four-fingered hands...

BTW, my daughter just finished her first year in a prestigious Art & Media University program where she used both pieces described above in her 10-piece entrance-application portfolio, and where she finished year one with a 4.0 GPA.

So here are my Cole's Notes comments from my first view of the stamp before reading the critique:

Drawn by an obviously meticulous artist, and not a child, as revealed by the precision in the denomination made just slightly less than perfect.

Brilliant use of a laboured script on the country name to signify their agonized cries at Russia's aggression.

Inspired use of a crude hammer and sickle representing the Octopus's (Russia's) brain capable of thinking only in myopic, biased "Communism good, Freedom bad" terms.

Insightful omission of the correct number of legs depicting Russia's intrinsic "handicap" in attempting to bully and dominate their nation.

Amazing use of perfectly matched colours that have been offset vertically from their borders to show that while Russia may try to push down and suppress Estonia, the country itself will remain whole and unbroken.

Personally, I give this an A+.

And that, my friends, is my rampage...





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Guthrum
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08 May 2016
01:08:46pm
re: Homemade Stamp?

Highly entertaining, David, but... Thumbs Down

That said, I slightly glossed over khj's point that 'similar designs were issued for the other Baltic States' (source?), which implies that the naivety (if we prefer that term to 'hamfisted') of the design was deliberate. (Or just desperate?)

However, I do look forward to your take on the semiotics of more professionally produced propaganda of those times!

Ikey, on the Guthrum (ruler of the Danes and of half England in the 9th century!) rampage scale, that was a mere 3 or 4 - sort of 'must do better'.

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khj
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08 May 2016
04:06:50pm
re: Homemade Stamp?

"I slightly glossed over khj's point that 'similar designs were issued for the other Baltic States' (source?)"



Afraid I can't give you a source on this other than my personal experience in seeing these. I normally don't collect cinderellas, so mine are all in storage and it's not convenient for me to scan them.

However, you can find pics on the internet. Below is an example:

Baltic anti-communism cinderellas

Note the stamp near the middle is the same design as the Estonian stamp shown in OP.


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Guthrum
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08 May 2016
06:11:55pm
re: Homemade Stamp?

Interesting page!

"Rare anti-communist issues used by the underground in letters to Soviet officials."

Well, no provenance is given, nor any evidence that these items were actually used as suggested - a proper collector would need that, I think, especially if a dealer was asking a stiff price for the (inevitably) 'rare issues'.

What 'underground', one wonders, would insert these labels into what correspondence? Were they a calculated insult, a sort of toilet-graffiti gesture, designed to irritate and annoy? Were they hand-drawn because the printing presses necessary for more sophisticated products would be too easy to trace? Were they simply slapped on to official mail by covert postal workers? (And have we any evidence of this?)

One label seems to bear the dates '1945-1953' - so we are not dealing with the short-lived 1940 Soviet incursion into the Baltic States, but rather the post-war late-Stalinist period. I have little if any material on what resistance there was to Soviet control in the Cold War years, but it seems a highly unusual way to go about subversion. I am reminded (slightly) of the case of Elise and Otto Hampel, who distributed anti-Nazi postcards in wartime Berlin, their story immortalised in Hans Fallada's Alone in Berlin.

However, I'd suspend judgment on these items until more evidence appears that they were used in the way suggested. Dealers have this way of presenting 'rare' items no-one has ever seen before, do they not?

(All the items shown have a stamped overprint of indeterminate purpose, which is missing in the OP's illustration. What can it all mean?)

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khj
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08 May 2016
11:03:32pm
re: Homemade Stamp?

I agree, I'm very doubtful about the "rare" part. Actually, when I pilfered the pic, I didn't even see the note at the top. I pilfered the pic to show the similar design Lithuania cinderella.

I definitely have several of the unoverprinted stamps. They can be occasionally found in box lots and collections.

I don't recall seeing the overprints, so that was something new for me. I don't know the story behind the overprints -- I assume they are some sort of surcharge to try to match some rate changes?

I have also never seen an example used or on cover.

Hopefully someone else can chime in concerning the overprints and any real clandestine usage.

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Author/Postings
BigDaddyDave

07 May 2016
03:07:52pm

One of my neighbors who started collecting stamps earlier this year stopped by to peruse and buy a few of my extras. He also asked me to identify a few stamps which I did. However, he also asked me about a stamp that looked like it was from Estonia...except that it appears to be a 'homemade' or 'artist creation'. Has anyone seen anything like this? Comments are appreciated. Thanks, Big Daddy DaveImage Not Found

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khj

07 May 2016
03:57:16pm

re: Homemade Stamp?

Estonia anti-communism cinderella. Similar designs were issued for the other Baltic States. Probably about a dozen different basic designs. Clearly targeted at Russia.

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Guthrum

07 May 2016
07:01:30pm

re: Homemade Stamp?

It's a pretty hamfisted effort, even by cinderella standards (some would say especially by cinderella standards). See how poorly the country shades match the borders, the laboured script and the 'octopus' lacking the correct number of legs.

The crudely-drawn hammer and sickle does indeed suggest anti-communist, and the currency was effective from 1928 to 1940 (and again after 1992). But the whole thing looks like the work of a not especially-talented child, rather than a piece of purposeful propaganda.

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ikeyPikey

08 May 2016
08:22:09am

re: Homemade Stamp?

"... hamfisted ... crudely-drawn ... a not especially-talented child ..."



Rampage much?

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lemaven

08 May 2016
09:01:47am

re: Homemade Stamp?

"It's a pretty hamfisted effort ... see how poorly the country shades match the borders, the laboured script and the 'octopus' lacking the correct number of legs."



Guthrum: It's not my intention to criticize, but I think you have this exactly wrong. But art may be the ultimate case of subjective opinion, and a worse conversation topic than even politics or sex, so nothing personal...

The analysis reminds me of my daughter's Grade 2 teacher who gave her a "C" on a colouring project, explaining that it was inconsistent because all the lines didn't go in the same direction "like the other kids". She tearfully said to my wife and I "and she wouldn't even listen when I tried to tell her I used cross-hatching".

And again in Grade 9 when her art teacher gave her poster a 75% with the comment "while your graphic showed generally good use of technique, the face was somewhat asymmetrical and poorly centred on the page". This time she swore rather than cried, at the fact that these were techniques used specifically to disturb the viewer into having a closer look at the intricacies within the graphic rather than just having the usual banal unsophisticated "symmetrical...check - centred...check - disengage...check".

And don't even get me started on Canada's brilliant, beautiful and moving (and I'm an atheist!!!) sculpture "Homeless Jesus" that has been criticized and dismissed by some churches and so-called Christians who clearly understand the message of Jesus even less than their understanding of art.

And also, don't make me point out one of the most brilliant and beloved American characters who spawned an unparalleled entertainment empire: "Mickey Mouse" and his (in this case truly) ham-fisted four-fingered hands...

BTW, my daughter just finished her first year in a prestigious Art & Media University program where she used both pieces described above in her 10-piece entrance-application portfolio, and where she finished year one with a 4.0 GPA.

So here are my Cole's Notes comments from my first view of the stamp before reading the critique:

Drawn by an obviously meticulous artist, and not a child, as revealed by the precision in the denomination made just slightly less than perfect.

Brilliant use of a laboured script on the country name to signify their agonized cries at Russia's aggression.

Inspired use of a crude hammer and sickle representing the Octopus's (Russia's) brain capable of thinking only in myopic, biased "Communism good, Freedom bad" terms.

Insightful omission of the correct number of legs depicting Russia's intrinsic "handicap" in attempting to bully and dominate their nation.

Amazing use of perfectly matched colours that have been offset vertically from their borders to show that while Russia may try to push down and suppress Estonia, the country itself will remain whole and unbroken.

Personally, I give this an A+.

And that, my friends, is my rampage...





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Guthrum

08 May 2016
01:08:46pm

re: Homemade Stamp?

Highly entertaining, David, but... Thumbs Down

That said, I slightly glossed over khj's point that 'similar designs were issued for the other Baltic States' (source?), which implies that the naivety (if we prefer that term to 'hamfisted') of the design was deliberate. (Or just desperate?)

However, I do look forward to your take on the semiotics of more professionally produced propaganda of those times!

Ikey, on the Guthrum (ruler of the Danes and of half England in the 9th century!) rampage scale, that was a mere 3 or 4 - sort of 'must do better'.

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khj

08 May 2016
04:06:50pm

re: Homemade Stamp?

"I slightly glossed over khj's point that 'similar designs were issued for the other Baltic States' (source?)"



Afraid I can't give you a source on this other than my personal experience in seeing these. I normally don't collect cinderellas, so mine are all in storage and it's not convenient for me to scan them.

However, you can find pics on the internet. Below is an example:

Baltic anti-communism cinderellas

Note the stamp near the middle is the same design as the Estonian stamp shown in OP.


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likes this post.
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Members Picture
Guthrum

08 May 2016
06:11:55pm

re: Homemade Stamp?

Interesting page!

"Rare anti-communist issues used by the underground in letters to Soviet officials."

Well, no provenance is given, nor any evidence that these items were actually used as suggested - a proper collector would need that, I think, especially if a dealer was asking a stiff price for the (inevitably) 'rare issues'.

What 'underground', one wonders, would insert these labels into what correspondence? Were they a calculated insult, a sort of toilet-graffiti gesture, designed to irritate and annoy? Were they hand-drawn because the printing presses necessary for more sophisticated products would be too easy to trace? Were they simply slapped on to official mail by covert postal workers? (And have we any evidence of this?)

One label seems to bear the dates '1945-1953' - so we are not dealing with the short-lived 1940 Soviet incursion into the Baltic States, but rather the post-war late-Stalinist period. I have little if any material on what resistance there was to Soviet control in the Cold War years, but it seems a highly unusual way to go about subversion. I am reminded (slightly) of the case of Elise and Otto Hampel, who distributed anti-Nazi postcards in wartime Berlin, their story immortalised in Hans Fallada's Alone in Berlin.

However, I'd suspend judgment on these items until more evidence appears that they were used in the way suggested. Dealers have this way of presenting 'rare' items no-one has ever seen before, do they not?

(All the items shown have a stamped overprint of indeterminate purpose, which is missing in the OP's illustration. What can it all mean?)

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khj

08 May 2016
11:03:32pm

re: Homemade Stamp?

I agree, I'm very doubtful about the "rare" part. Actually, when I pilfered the pic, I didn't even see the note at the top. I pilfered the pic to show the similar design Lithuania cinderella.

I definitely have several of the unoverprinted stamps. They can be occasionally found in box lots and collections.

I don't recall seeing the overprints, so that was something new for me. I don't know the story behind the overprints -- I assume they are some sort of surcharge to try to match some rate changes?

I have also never seen an example used or on cover.

Hopefully someone else can chime in concerning the overprints and any real clandestine usage.

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